Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Review
The latest installments in the successful long-running Pokémon franchise – Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire – take players back to the scenic Hoenn region first introduced in 2003’s Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire follow largely the same plot as the originals, but with significant upgrades to the game play along with new characters, upgrades and Pokémon to catch.
One of the most impressive improvements is also one of the most obvious – the visuals. The games are exclusive to Nintendo’s 3DS system which is capable of far more than the Game Boy Advance for which the originals were created.
The games feature the same 3D graphics introduced in 2013’s Pokémon X and Y. Besides being easier on the eye, the improved graphics contribute to the improved storytelling capabilities of the games. This is immediately shown off in the opening cut scene where players see images of the original introduction from the 2003 games interspersed with views of the new 3D imagery.
Players of the originals will feel nostalgic as they travel through Hoenn which still includes all areas found in the original games, albeit with some changes here and there. A major example of this is found in ‘Mauville City’ which has been expanded to include additional shops and characters to engage with.
In addition to this, new areas called ‘mirage spots’ as well as the new ‘Battle Resort’, a place for players to train and test their Pokémon against a variety of opponents in all match styles, become open to players following certain in-game events. New post-game content has been added as well as tweaks and additions to the original storyline, giving the games a fresh feel while keeping fans of the original satisfied.
Although the post-game content is a vast improvement on Pokémon X and Y, which was very limited in this area, it still does not compare to what players were treated to in the 2009 installments Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Despite this, the ‘Delta Episode‘ is certainly entertaining and features some of the best story-telling ever seen in the series.
Players new and old will enjoy the return of ‘secret bases’ which players can create in various areas and even invite friends to join them in using the 3DS’ online capabilities. The addition of the new ‘DexNav’ feature is also a welcome addition, allowing players to have an easier time finding special Pokémon with hidden moves and abilities.
New ‘Mega Evolutions‘ have also been added, with a number of Pokémon receiving additional forms with increased power. Fans will no doubt be impressed with the new ‘Mega Rayquaza’ which boasts an all new design and improved stats and abilities. In addition, the new ‘Mega Latios and Latias’ forms allow players to fly across the entire Hoenn region in 3D offering a fresh take on in-game travel not seen in previous games.
Overall, the games do not disappoint; they demonstrate just how far the franchise has come without taking away from the brilliance of the original games.
They provide a nostalgic trip back to Hoenn for fans of the originals while also offering an updated take on the region which not only keeps the games relevant in the rapidly expanding franchise, but also ensures newcomers to the series will enjoy the games just as much as older fans did Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.